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What kinds of things do we (I) write in the Everything Notebook?

I’m often asked to discuss one of my most popular techniques, the Everything Notebook. I have considered making YouTube videos explaining how to make one, how it operates, etc. But I end up running out of time. But over the winter break (this past one, December 2019-January 2020), I was asked what kind of stuff do I write in the Everything Notebook. I was planning my 2020, so I took the opportunity to showcase the kinds of things that I post to my Everything Notebook.

Everything Notebook

I am also experimenting with something in 2020: I am starting my new Everything Notebook WITHIN my 2019 one. Normally, I devote at least 1 Everything Notebook to a specific year. Some years I have run out of space and therefore I have to start another one, but this year, I had enough space (mostly I believe as a result of my being in Paris for the Spring term) to start the 2020 one right there and then.

So here are a few things that I write in my Everything Notebook:

1) My Weekly To-Do List.

Planning 2020

This is perhaps the one component that is similar to the Bullet Journal and one of the major reasons why people confuse both systems. The Everything Notebook, however, has both project notes AND To-Do lists in it. That’s perhaps the one thing that differentiates both systems. I am writing a blog post explaining the (rather substantial) differences, which I’ll publish soon.

2) Project Notes

When I refer to project notes, I mean notes about a particular project I am developing or commentaries about scholarship I have read. So within the “Bottled Water” section of my Everything Notebook, I may have summarized an article and dropped a few notes regarding its content, or written a few ideas about stuff I am thinking about.

I also copy suggestions on to my Everything Notebook, which I obtain from tweets answering my tweeted research-related questions online.

3. My Yearly Writing Commitments

One of the ways in which I keep track of what I am supposed to be writing is by virtue of keeping my yearly plan in my Everything Notebook. This includes my writing commitments. Within each project tab/section, I make a note regarding which projects I am supposed to be tackling related to that specific research area (in this case, discards and waste).

Obviously, the power of the Everything Notebook resides in having EVERYTHING in one place instead of scattered notes all over the place. That’s why I encourage folks to adapt my method (or if they so choose, the Bullet Journal idea!) the way they prefer. Because for me, having the To-Do lists with my yearly plan and my writing commitments and project notes, field notes, etc. is much more efficient than dedicating different notebooks to each one of these items.

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